Water quality


  1. Overview
  2. Drinking waters
  3. Coastal waters
  4. South Tyneside Council's role in water quality
  5. Open water safety


Generally, water quality issues are looked after by the Environment Agency.

This national environmental regulator is responsible for controlling discharges to:

  • rivers
  • lakes
  • coastal waters
  • and, other water courses

If you notice a problem please contact the Environment Agency.

Drinking water

Northumbrian Water is responsible for the quality of our drinking water supplies.

If you have a problem related to the quality of your drinking water please contact your supplier direct. 

Coastal waters

Certain coastal waters used for bathing and recreation are designated under the Bathing Waters Directive. 

A classification system for bathing waters was introduced in 2015, with councils required to provide information on the more stringent standards during the bathing season, which runs from 15 May to 30 September each year. 

Each bathing water beach is given one of the following annual classifications:

  • Excellent - the highest, cleanest class
  • Good - generally good water quality
  • Sufficient - the water meets minimum standards
  • Poor - the water has not met the minimum standards. Work is planned to improve bathing waters not yet reaching Sufficient.

In South Tyneside, there are two designated bathing waters located at Sandhaven Beach and Marsden Beach. 

You can check the quality of these bathing waters, and others in the country, at GOV.UK: Beach and bathing waters in England.

We are also proposing to make Littlehaven Beach a designated bathing water. For more details, see Littlehaven Beach bathing water designation.

South Tyneside Council's role in water quality

South Tyneside Council is passionate about ensuring the quality of our rivers and ocean. 

The Council has an influencing and advocacy role in terms of water quality.

We understand that poor water quality can have an impact on public health, communities and the natural environment, and endorse all efforts to minimise the release of untreated sewage into open water.

Please read our Open Water Quality Position Statement for more information.

Open water safety

If you are planning to access open water please consider the safety information on open water safety.